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God Mode

Windows 7 Tip of the Week
God Mode

Tip date: August 7, 2010
Tipster: Stuart Ross

Months ago, reports far and wide lauded a "secret" Windows 7 God Mode that would grant you access to hidden OS features using, literally, a secret code. The truth is, Windows 7 God Mode is nothing of the kind, neither god-like nor a mode. So I resisted writing much about it, until recently I began getting a second round of emails about this trick. And now that the dust has settled, looking at it again, I can see the attraction.

What God Mode really is, is a way to access every single Control Panel feature via simpler-to-read list. Critics have poo-poo'd God Mode because there's nothing new in there, and because it's supposedly simpler to type key words into Start Menu Search than it is to scan a long list. That is incorrect. The beauty of God Mode, ultimately, is that it presents its capabilities in list form. And if you don't know what to search for, Start Menu Search is useless.

So God Mode really is an excellent Windows 7 secret, because it reveals a long list of features you may never have otherwise discovered. In this way, it works a bit like the Office 2007/2010 ribbon in that it doesn't necessarily offer anything new, but it does surface features you probably would never have otherwise found.

To "enable" God Mode--really, just create a new shell view for all Control Panel features--right-click on the desktop and choose New Folder. For the folder name, paste in this text:


A new Control Panel-looking icon will be created with the name God Mode. Open this, and you'll see a very long list of all of the available features.

Windows 7 Tip of the Week: God Mode
It's ... full of features.

The funniest thing about God Mode, of course, is the name. That is, you don't need to use the text GodMode above. Instead, you can use any text: All Control Panels, whatever. It's your choice. The number after the period (".") is a GUID--a globally unique identifier--and it must remain as-is. However, you could use other GUIDs to enable different views as well. For example, using Computer.{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D} would create a new icon for the Computer view.

So enjoy God Mode for what it is: A chance to find out about features you never knew about before. And ignore the haters. On a web where everyone is tripping over themselves to prove how smart they are, the real experts are those who simply know where to look for the answers. And God Mode, horribly named as it is, is one such place.

Simplest. Tip. Ever. :)

PS: For a semi-complete list of available God Mode features, and a list of other GUID values you can apply to new folders in Windows 7, check out this post on Windows 7 Themes.

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